Chase Elliott passes Father Bill – like he’s meant to be


The owner of Chase’s car in his real job was more than understanding. “What Rick Hendrick said – how can I say no to a kid who wants to race with his dad – that made me completely moved,” Bill said. “It made the whole concept of the night so different.”


Chase Elliott (background) and Bill Elliott watch during practice before the Camping World Superstar Racing Experience event on Saturday July 17, 2021 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. (Mike Arning / True Speed ​​PR)

Credit: True Speed ​​PR

Credit: True Speed ​​PR

And after two qualifying races taking place in the old man’s vapors – for a few laps pulling side-to-side but never heading for the lead – and passing much of the function in the same position, Chase was impressed. .

“I thought it was good, he looks pretty good and is aggressive, and I liked that,” Chase said later. “I haven’t seen him be this aggressive in a long time. It was very fun.”

Bill hadn’t run the trouble of spitting in the previous five races of this series. He doubted himself, doubted his car, and even hit his wrist while breaking a race. But now he had a car that suited him and some emotional nitrous oxide to give him that extra boost.

“(Chase) was a great inspiration,” he said.

Before coming to the conclusion – spoiler alert, the youngster wins at the end – a bit over the Elliotts.

Bill and his brothers started the family tradition of racing in Dawsonville. It started out as a modest, low-budget operation. Everyone got their hands dirty. And everyone grazed the roots of the race.

Bill Elliott was very comfortable on Saturday at a place they have raced since almost the start of internal combustion – the first race at the site was 1904. A place where rust fights for dominance of the grandstand liner, a place abandoned by NASCAR in the mid-1980s, the kind of place where the third round carries the sponsorship of Ms. Kelli’s karaoke – “Where you are the star.”

The 15,000 or so fans who filled the bare metal stands were also very comfortable with the two Elliots. The two reigned supreme as NASCAR’s most popular driver, according to fan votes. And that was just the show that these people had paid to see.

Winner of 44 NASCAR races and a series championship, Bill doesn’t stutter at all when he calls his son the best driver. “Hell yeah, I know he is,” he said. Chase has the only championship and 13 NASCAR wins going for him.

Bill also raised an only son who shares a passion for all kinds of racing, no matter the scale. Having raced miniature cars in the Midwest earlier in the week and then Saturday’s special race at a location where he won a big late model race as a teenager, Chase is a fine and heritage-loving keeper. Elliott.

Bill also noted how more comfortable his son has become with Elliott’s name and his father’s success.

“I think at first he fought to be my child,” Bill said last week. “It was a little hard for him to get out of this because everyone was trying to compare him to me. It’s a completely different time, everything is completely different. After he won his first cup race I saw a difference and then last year after winning the championship I saw a bigger difference in how he proved himself and plotted its own way.

And as a full-fledged runner, Chase Elliott was going to spot an opening and roar through it when he presented one by the old man. Saturday was perhaps the more honest race between the two. Chase doesn’t really count the other time, a late model race in Opp, Alabama, in 2013, when he convinced Dad to join him on the track in a poorly prepared rescue car. Chase won that day, Bill was fourth.

This time, on a fresh start with 23 laps of the race with 77 laps remaining, Bill slid down the track before the first turn, allowing Chase to pass low. He kept the lead until the end, while Bill would finish third, behind Stewart.

Chase would later laugh at the memory of his father once “tiring me out of making sure my tires were properly broken in for a restart here.” And now it was his father who had been guilty of not adjusting his tires enough during the guard laps and had lost valuable grip on restart.

“Having a chance to run daddy and with the two of us pushing hard, these are times that I will cherish forever,” said Chase. “I couldn’t have scripted this better.”

The son had passed the father. And the father was jubilant. He knows how to count years as well as turns. And he knows wins aren’t always measured by who finishes first.

“I’m a man on Medicare and just trying to keep up with these young kids,” Bill said with a broad smile.

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